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to help Zim, but only after Mugabe
May 03, 2007
recovery strategy in Zimbabwe will have to be driven by Zimbabweans,
but will require international support, spanning the full range
of aid, debt relief, and private finance. Here are five constructive
steps that the international community should take.
- Help formulate
a practical economic recovery strategy. The list of needs will
be long, so devising a realistic set of priorities and a sensible
division of labour among the many partners will be essential to
- Provide coordinated
assistance upfront. A key lesson from other countries is the necessity
of a strong, assertive national body to corral multiple donors
and ensure accountability (and be prepared to say no when necessary).
same time, as soon as the transition is clearly under way, the
World Bank should immediately convene a consultative group to
elicit multi-year pledges from the key contributors. Most funds
could go into a donor pool -- called something like the Zimbabwe
Reconstruction Trust Fund -- in order to facilitate matching official
inflows to the agreed strategy. Quickly normalising relations
with the International Monetary Fund will also allow debt restructuring
talks to begin.
- Quickly unleash
the power of the private sector. A real recovery will have to
go beyond public institutions and revive the country's once-vibrant
industries. The new government will need to understand and fix
the barriers faced by firms trying to rebound (and resist the
temptation to overly intervene). Donors should also think about
sponsoring a private investment conference early on to encourage
foreign capital inflows.
an orderly return of the diaspora. A massive pool of capital and
talent is sitting in Johannesburg, waiting to come home. Many
Zimbabweans in Australia, Europe or America will also want to
return home, but may want to keep their options open. Countries
hosting them now should ensure that immigration and asylum laws
are not a barrier to tapping the benefits of this vital group.
most importantly, promote a new approach to land use. Zimbabwe's
still-unresolved land injustices have been a source of both real
grievance and a convenient excuse for failure and theft. A transparent
land audit and logical resettlement scheme could go far in rebuilding
the once-proud farming sector.
is a senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development, an independent
research institute in Washington, DC. He is the co-author of After
Mugabe: Applying Post-Conflict Recovery Lessons to Zimbabwe, Africa
Policy Journal, Harvard University, 2006
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